Bear Hugs and Butterfly
Kisses Drives Inspirational Parenting Movement
Bear Hugs and Butterfly Kisses is a family owned,“mom inspired” business dedicated to helping parents and caregivers understand their child’s developing mind and body. President Angela Nettuno is a former Elementary, Kindergarten, and Preschool Teacher, Social Worker and experienced mom. Nettuno has always been fascinated with the developing minds of babies and children.
On the site she shares her passion and knowledge of child development, bringing readers back to the innocence of childhood as they experience the world through their child’s eyes. Her articles provide information about developmental milestones, brain development, language development, physical development, social development, reading readiness, preparing for kindergarten, and childhood learning disabilities.
In addition, Nettuno strongly believes that babies and children learn by playing! She states, “When instruction and products are developmentally appropriate learning is fun!” Nettuno helps parents understand their child’s developing mind and body by clearly defining “developmentally appropriate instruction” while seamlessly guiding parents to a full line of the best, industry leading, developmentally appropriate products (there is a full store on the site with hundreds of handpicked products specific to each stage of development)!
Finally, in addition to providing information about typical development, Nettuno is on a mission to raise critical awareness about Childhood Learning Disabilities. Nettuno has personal experience with learning disabilities and has included an excellent article on the site entitled Childhood Learning Disabilities - The Great Unknown. Nettuno states that, “It can be heartbreaking when a child goes misdiagnosed or undiagnosed because early interventions can actually re-train the brain while it is still malleable.” She hopes this article will serve as a valuable resource for both parents and teachers.
Join the inspirational parenting movement by joining Bear Hugs and Butterfly Kisses on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BearHugsAndButterflyKissesToys
And visit their site to see what they’re all about
by following the link: Educational Toys
Happy parenting. Enjoy the journey….
Press release: PRWeb
26 June 2012
Skoolbo – World’s Largest
Educational Game Launches
Skoolbo Core Skills is launching at the International Society for Technology in Education meeting next week. Skoolbo Core Skills, a literacy and numeracy program for 4 - 10 year olds, combines fantastic 3D worlds and amazing fun in multi-platforms and best of all – it’s FREE!
Skoolbo Core Skills, the world’s largest educational game ever, is now available. Skoolbo is a multiplatform literacy and numeracy program designed to help 4 to 10 year-olds learn to read and gain confidence with numbers. The multiplayer games incorporate beautifully designed 3D worlds, individualized avatars and a highly effective rewards system. Teachers and parents receive comprehensive, individually customized reports detailing not only strengths and weaknesses, but also suggested activities for student improvement.
Skoolbo believes the most important element of successful eLearning is fun. “Our goal is to hook the children on their learning. We know that if children love what they are doing then tremendous learning outcomes will be achieved,” Skoolbo CEO and Founder, Shane Hill said recently.
The Skoolbo Spiral Learning Algorithm ensures every student is always receiving the right level of difficulty with the appropriate balance of new and revision content. The system continues to assess the child’s performance and adapts its game content to match the child’s learning method and current achievements.
Skoolbo is available in iTunes for iPads or from the Skoolbo website for PC and Mac. The Android version will be available shortly. We asked Shane Hill to tell us more about Skoolbo’s multiplatform ability. He said, “One of the things we are most pleased with is the fact that a child can use their Skoolbo account on any device and will always see their most up to date information. This is possible because any device will sync with the child’s account when they log on.”
Skoolbo is completely free for all children and teachers. Parents can choose between a free account as well as an inexpensive premium version with additional reports and features. Shane shared his ethos behind choosing this business model, “We are absolutely delighted to be able to use a business model that allows every child to gain access to world leading educational resources regardless of their economic circumstances.” And, unlike many of the learning apps available today, there is absolutely no advertising on Skoolbo.
Skoolbo also announced today that their Chinese version will be available in late July covering both literacy and numeracy in Mandarin. Later in 2012 Skoolbo will be release their English learning program. We asked Shane about it, “For many people around the world learning English is the single most advantageous skill in terms of job opportunities. It is an enabler that can lift people out of poverty and give them real choices.” he said.
The official global launch of Skoolbo is at the ISTE Conference in San Diego, USA, on 24 June 2012.
Skoolbo believes that technology can drastically improve learning outcomes for children by recognising and harnessing the way children learn. Skoolbo’s e-learning programs focus on improving foundation reading and numeracy skills. The 3D racing games combine state-of-the-art technology and potent learning puzzles with the most important element of e-learning – fun! This is the underlying principle in all of the Skoolbo apps. Skoolbo provides the central elements of all of their apps for free with additional premium options available for purchase at extremely reasonable rates.
Press release: PRWeb
21 June 2012
Kids, Teens, and Celebrities Unite in Summer Long Effort to Collect New Shoes for Underprivileged Kids.
Five-Star PR today announced the formation of “The Shoe Crew,” a group of kids, teens, and celebrities determined to help make a difference in the lives of underprivileged youth by providing them with much needed new athletic shoes. The Shoe Crew consists of over twenty members— primarily actors, celebrities, and public figures.
“All kids deserve to have comfortable, nice-looking shoes for school,” said young actor, Gabriel Welch. “We really wanted to do something productive with our time this summer,” said Kayla Tinucci, a junior at Canyon High School and the Captain of The Shoe Crew. Her brother, teen actor, Justin Tinucci, went on to say, “It is so rewarding to do things that positively impact the lives of other people. I am so excited about The Shoe Crew and everything we are doing this summer!”
Many of the underprivileged recipients who will benefit from the Shoe Crew’s efforts are in need of emergency assistance. Some of these youth are from homes that have burned down, have fled domestic violence situations, or whose parents have had to choose between a roof over their heads or food on the table versus the other basic items their children desperately need. The Show Crew is devoted to helping these underprivileged youth who aren’t able to afford necessities that are generally taken for granted, such as shoes.
Press release: PRWeb Newswire
19 June 2012
Study examines link between
soft drink intake and risk of obesity
in Canadian children
Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published in the October issue of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. The study examined the relationship between beverage intake patterns of Canadian children and their risk for obesity and found sweetened beverage intake to be a risk factor only in boys aged 6-11.
"We found sweetened drinks to be dominant beverages during childhood, but saw no consistent association between beverage intake patterns and overweight and obesity," says lead author Susan J. Whiting. "Food and beverage habits are formed early in life and are often maintained into adulthood. Overconsumption of sweetened beverages may put some children at increased risk for overweight and obesity. Indeed, boys aged 6-11 years who consumed mostly soft drinks were shown to be at increased risk for overweight and obesity as compared with those who drank a more moderate beverage pattern."
The authors determined beverage consumption patterns among Canadian children aged 2-18 years using cluster analysis where sociodemographics, ethnicity, household income, and food security were significantly different across the clusters. Data were divided into different age and gender groups and beverage preferences were studied. For this study the sweetened, low-nutrient beverages, categorized according to Canada's Food Guide, consisted of fruit-flavoured beverages, beverages with less than 100% fruit juice, lemonades, regular soft drinks, and sweetened coffees or teas.
The authors found the main predictors of childhood obesity in Canadian children were household income, ethnicity, and household food security.
Source: Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research
15 June 2012
The Government of Canada supports safe outdoor play spaces
The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of Health, today announced support for a project to reduce injuries among children and youth by improving the safety of outdoor play spaces used by children and youth, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations.
"Unstructured play is an important form of learning for children and youth, and is critical for healthy development. However, not everyone has access to safe and adequate outdoor play spaces," said Minister Gosal. "Today's investment is about reducing injuries at playgrounds and other outdoor spaces, while encouraging our kids to lead an active, healthy lifestyle."
The University of British Columbia (UBC) will develop the Play Spaces for Vulnerable Children and Youth in Canada project in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, the Canadian Playground Safety Institute, and Safe Kids Canada. Together, they will work directly with communities and engage children and youth to assess current knowledge about outdoor play spaces in order to determine issues to be addressed through education and outreach. Information and resources — including an online tool to train community members to become outdoor play spaces inspectors — will ensure that parents, municipalities and policy makers have access to new and best practice information on outdoor play spaces.
"An estimated 2,500 children, aged 14 and younger, are hospitalized every year in Canada for serious playground injuries; however, many of these injuries are preventable," said Dr. Ian Pike, Director of the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children's Hospital and UBC. "This project allows us to reach out to community members, providing them with the tools and resources needed to ensure outdoor spaces are safe for play."
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Active and Safe initiative, the federal government supports a number of projects that focus on preventing injuries among children and youth, and reaching Canadians in the communities where they live and play. Active and Safe encourages community level action to increase sport and recreation safety awareness.
APPENDED FACT SHEET:
Unintentional Injuries among Children and Youth in Canada
Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 19. While the Government of Canada encourages Canada's children and youth to become more active and live healthy lifestyles, it is also important to ensure their safety while being active.
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Active and Safe initiative, the Government of Canada is investing $5 million over two years to support a number of community-based projects that empower Canadians to make safe choices while engaged in sport or recreation activities. Today's announcement for $200,000 will support a project to reduce unintentional injuries among children and youth by improving the safety of outdoor play spaces used by children and youth, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations.
Play Spaces for Vulnerable Children and Youth in Canada
This project will be led by the University of British Columbia, in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, the Canadian Playground Safety Institute, and Safe Kids Canada.
Project activities include:
assessing current knowledge about outdoor play spaces, including playgrounds, green spaces and urban areas such as parking lots, vacant lots and streets used by children and youth in order to determine areas for improvement;
engaging children and youth (aged six to 12 years) from rural and urban communities to gather information on after-school outdoor play spaces based on their experiences;
developing an online tool, available on computers at local libraries, community centres, other community organizations and/or band offices, to train community members to be outdoor play spaces inspectors in communities with children and youth; and
developing new information, tools and resources for parents, municipalities and policy makers, including safety tips and checklists.
Press release: Canada Newswire
11 June 2012
Work Ethic Training Program for Teens Introduced
The new work ethic and character building program called MITI, created by business consultant and author, Brian D. Molitor, author of WIN-WIN-WIN, is changing the lives of the teens that complete this 60 hour course. Molitor, a father of four himself, adapted his corporate training programs to be facilitator driven, highly interactive, 15-minute segments. The course includes video taped interviews with people Molitor calls, "overcomers."
Spokesperson for Foster Care Alumni of America, Rhonda Sciortino, says, “MITI is great for all teens, but no one needs it more than young people transitioning out of foster care. Many of our nation’s foster kids haven’t been privileged to see parents get up and go to work and come home with an earned paycheck. I know first hand that nothing builds self-esteem like an earned paycheck from a job well done.” Sciortino goes on to say that she believes that the MITI work ethic and character building program should be required curriculum for every young person.
MITI stands for Molitor International Training Initiative. It is an interactive program focusing on leadership, communication, relationships, entrepreneurship, conflict resolution, basic business principles, essential life skills, and much more. For information on MITI, go to http://www.molitorinternational.com
Press release: PRWeb
11 June 2012
Diabetes Rates Increase
Significantly Among American Youth
Type 1, Type 2
Both on the Rise
The first analysis of diabetes trends among American youth reveals that the prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 increased among young people substantially over the past decade. Researchers also found that complications such as nerve damage are already emerging in young people, raising concerns about the long-term health consequences for this and subsequent generations if the trend is not reversed, as reported at the American Diabetes Association's 72nd Scientific Sessions®.
"Type 2, once known as 'adult onset' diabetes, is increasingly being diagnosed in young people," said Giuseppina Imperatore, MD, PhD, Medical Epidemiologist with the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "We've known this was happening for a while, but now we have data that tell us just how big a problem it has become. Additionally, worldwide, the number of youth who are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has been growing at an annual rate of about 3 percent. Our preliminary data indicate that this is the case among U.S. youth too. This is of grave concern, because these youth will live with diabetes most of their lives and may develop diabetes-related complications, such as heart and kidney disease, nerve damage and vision problems, at a much younger age. In fact, preliminary data suggest that complications may already be developing in this generation."
The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, is assessing diabetes burden in children and youth younger than 20 years in five geographically dispersed populations that encompass the ethnic diversity of the United States. SEARCH investigators found that, overall, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes had increased 21 percent among American youth from 2001-2009, while type 1 diabetes rose 23 percent. The data suggest that there were nearly 189,000 Americans under the age of 20 with diabetes; of those, 168,000 had type 1 and more than 19,000 had type 2.
Preliminary findings from SEARCH presented during the scientific sessions also indicate the following:
Children and adolescents with diabetes are not only at risk for complications such as peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage), many already show measurable signs of it. This could increase their future risk of lower limb amputations.
Youth with type 2 diabetes, are more likely to have protein in the urine than youth with type 1, suggesting they may have a greater risk for kidney disease later in life.
A pilot study, which looked at a subset of youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, found early indications of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (damage to the nerve system regulating the heart and its vessels), suggesting that these youth are at increased risk for future cardiovascular disease.
Researchers also found that youth with diabetes who watched television for three or more hours per day had higher A1C and triglyceride levels than those who watched less television. Other lipids, such as cholesterol, did not appear to be affected by duration of television viewing.
The study showed that the proportion of youth with type 2 diabetes was highest among American Indian and non-Hispanic black youth, and in these groups it did not change over time. The proportion of Hispanic and non-Hispanic white youth with type 2 diabetes was lower, but it increased over time. A longer study period is needed to fully quantify these trends in all racial groups. Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver noted that the risk of early-onset type 2 diabetes is heavily impacted by exposure to maternal diabetes or obesity in the womb. "The vicious cycle of obesity creates a transgenerational problem," she said, "as the offspring of women who are obese or who have type 2 diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to develop diabetes early in life."
"This research reinforces the need to ensure that young people with diabetes are getting more exercise, making healthier food choices and maintaining healthier weights," said Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, MSPH, PhD, RD, Professor at the University of North Carolina and American Diabetes Association, Immediate Past-President, Health Care & Education.
Type 1 diabetes, shown in previous studies of European and worldwide registries to be on the rise in recent years, is not believed to be impacted by lifestyle in the same way as type 2. The reasons for its rise are yet unknown; however, researchers are investigating several hypotheses. One theory is that children and infants in contemporary environments are less exposed to viruses and bacteria that help the immune system mature, increasing their subsequent risk for type 1. Other hypotheses suggest that changes in the environment encourage kids to grow faster and gain more weight early in life which overloads the beta cells and triggers an autoimmune attack. Others are looking at changes in the diet of infants and when foods are introduced. However, it is not yet known why type 1 is increasing.
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org . Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
Press release: MarketWire
9 June 2012
8 June 2012
DHL partner SOS Children's Village to empower the youth
DHL, world's leading logistics company has partnered SOS Children's Villages, an NGO on child welfare to provide career counseling and advice for underprivileged youths in Ghana.
The partnership is aimed at enhancing the empowerment and provision of career opportunities for the youth by providing them with career exposure, mentoring, job shadowing and work experience.
DHL employers would be given the opportunity to volunteer their time to guide these youth in preparation for their future.
Speaking at a dinner to launch the initiative in Accra, Mr Ralf Duerrwang, Global Vice President of Corporate Public Policy Responsibility at DHL said motivating the youth was essential to encourage them to give off their best to secure their future.
He said the importance of education and career counseling was critical in helping the youth build a solid foundation for their future and for national development.
There is an old proverb that states that It takes a village to raise a child and it is in this spirit that we have partnered SOS Children's Village in Ghana,¯ he added.
Mr Duerrwang said often young people lacked direction and were unaware of the necessary skills they needed to make them competitive in the labour market, adding that, this was even more difficult for those who came from a challenging socio-economic background.
SOS Children's Villages provides a key intervention in the lives of these youth and we hope to become an integral part of this,¯ he said.
Mrs Katharina Steinkeller, Head of International Corporate Partnerships for SOS Children's Village commended DHL for the kind gesture and hoped the initiative would go a long way to help protect the future of the youth.
This marks the start of a long-term partnership between us and we look forward to many more interesting programmes in the future,¯ she said.
The poor access to education and few chances to gain work experience by the youth in many developing countries incited DHL to partner SOS Children's Village in 2011, as part of its global GoTeach Programme.
The partnership in Ghana follows the successful implementation of the partnership in Madagascar, South Africa, Sierra-Leone, Vietnam and Brazil.
6 June 2012
6 June 2012
The Problem: Inactive Teens. The Solution: the Good Life!
We've all heard about the problem. Our teens are stuck on the couch playing video games, texting and watching TV. They're gaining weight, acquiring chronic illnesses and developing bad habits that will last a life time. So, we've identified the problem - what's the solution?
GoodLife Fitness is striving to be a part of the solution for a healthier future for Canadian Teens. That's why, for the third year in a row, GoodLife Fitness is offering a FREE Teen Fitness Program from coast-to-coast this summer for youth between the ages of 12 and 17-years-old, from July 3rd to August 31st.
According to the Canada Health Measures Survey 2010 over 26 per cent of children and youth are overweight or obese and 60 per cent of Canadian youth do not get the required daily physical activity for optimum growth and development. Additionally, 93 per cent of children and youth are not meeting Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, CSEP).
"The findings of many recent physical activity and obesity studies are undeniable and that is why it's so important that we open our facilities to teens in the summer," said David ("Patch") Patchell-Evans, GoodLife Founder & CEO. "We need to do our part to change the course our children are on and help them to lead active and healthy lives."
"We want to provide all Canadians with the opportunity to live a fit and healthy good life and we know the importance of starting these habits at a young age," continues Patch, who has four teenagers. "The growth of the Teen Fitness Program has been fantastic over the past two summers—as more than 35,000 teens were active and healthy in our clubs last summer."
Online registration for the program opened June 1st (www.teenfitness.ca) with the clubs opening their doors for teens on July 3rd. All teens who register for the program will be given a full orientation that outlines: club etiquette, safety guidelines, workout tips, safe and proper use of strength and cardio machines, Group EXercise classes, and appropriate apparel.
"Continuing on the success of last year's program, our goal is that the teens utilize their free membership to learn that fitness can be fun and a great part of their everyday lives all while reaping the benefits of becoming healthier and stronger. Our program has been set up to ensure that all teens have the proper instruction and tips to ensure their workout experience is safe, fun, and effective," says Kathy MacKinnon, Vice President of Operations with GoodLife and the Operations leader for Teen Fitness.
GoodLife recommends that teens work out three times per week for 60 minutes each time which as CSEP's guidelines for 12-17 year olds outlines, is the healthy amount of weekly vigorous physical activity and strength training.
Press release: GoodLife
5 June 2012
4 June 2012
Sit-in at minister’s office to save innovative mental health centre
Closing Thistletown is like closing Sick Kids’ Hospital and sending patients to community clinics.
Parents, community members, and workers have taken their fight for children and youth to Eric Hoskins’ doorstep. They’re at a sit-in at the office of the Ontario cabinet minister responsible for closing the groundbreaking and highly-acclaimed Thistletown Regional Centre.
The group has asked for a meeting with Hoskins, Minister of Children and Youth Services. He has failed to meet with families of Thistletown’s 415 clients. He has neither made public his transition plan nor committed to long-term funding of Thistletown’s innovative research, programs, and treatment, now worth about $18 million.
Thistletown is a last resort for children and youth with complex mental health, behavioural, or developmental challenges, such as extreme autism, or who have experienced sexual abuse. Hospitals and community agencies have turned them away. Thistletown’s expert teams developed and deliver programs that work.
“It makes no more sense to close an expert place of last resort like Thistletown than it would to close cancer centres or Sick Kids’ Hospital and send patients to a community clinic,” says Pat Balog, Thistletown employee and President of Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) Local 547. “The McGuinty government is cutting services for some of the most needy and vulnerable people in Ontario. Our clients are difficult to place, treat, and heal. By the time they get to us, they have a long history, nowhere to turn, and their families are desperate.”
Children’s mental health services are a patchwork, fragmented and limited. Families wait an average eight months for community agencies. The crisis will deepen if Thistletown closes. Schools and community agencies refer children and youth to Thistletown, which also has a waiting list. And special education classrooms have lost 400 teaching assistants.
“Most places are not equipped to handle children and youth who wind up at Thistletown,” says Bruce McIntosh, parent of a Thistletown client. “And even if they were, they can’t absorb them without displacing others. This will end badly. That much is clear. People are waiting to get in to Thistletown, not out.
“The minister must meet with Thistletown parents as a group, not individually. We need to get the same information at the same time from the minister and understand completely what the government has in mind for our children.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.
National Union of Public and General Employees
1 June 2012
1 June 2012
Ending Violence against Children in Custody
On February 24th, the International Juvenile Justice Observatory hosted in its premises project partners meeting in order to follow up and debate upon the progress of a project aiming at 'Ending Violence against Children in Custody'.
This innovative European project relies both on the analysis of national and European law protecting children in custody from violence as on the implication of children who face or had to face detention. As a result, this project gathers within one single and ambitious project the assets of a legal and empiric analysis of a peculiar situation.
Launched in January 2011, this project is coordinated by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), a charity, which protects the human rights of children by lobbying government and others who hold power, by bringing or supporting test cases and by using regional and international human rights mechanisms.
Focused on ending violence against children in custody, this project gathers several children’s rights organizations, among which: the International Juvenile Justice Observatory; the Children’s Rights Alliance for England; Save the Children – Romania; the Office of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in Cyprus; the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights from Austria; and Defence for Children-ECPAT, a Dutch NGO coalition dedicated to children’s rights.
A member of the European Commission as well as an independent evaluator also came to this project partners meeting in order to follow-up the progress of the project for the first one and to introduce its future role and involvement in the CRAE-coordinated project for the evaluator. The latter will indeed provide the project partners with an objective assessment of their work, which will enable them to present and promote their findings to their respective national authorities, to the EU institutions, the Council of Europe, etc.
This European project was designed in order to analyze national and European laws, policies and practices protecting children in custody from violence, in compliance with international standards such as the General Comment N. 13 to the UNCRC, which states “the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence”. Besides this analysis, this project is particularly interesting insofar as it involves children, who used to be held in custody. The latter are important as they are able to share their first-hand knowledge of custody, can recommend appropriate and truly useful changes as well as assist other children by raising the awareness of child custodial workforce and decision makers.
Thanks to this first meeting, each partner knows now more about the situation and findings of each other partner and benefits from a clearer and more encompassing understanding of the project. Hopefully, this will enable partners to achieve their goals and those of the project: ending violence against children in custody by pointing out and filling in the gap between international standards and national practices, and by disseminating their findings to the greatest possible extent.
Press release: European Union
8 May 2012